Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beit Chana

Seminar Beit Chana
9901 Kiryat Chabad


Sunday, August 13, 2006

From Doreen

[moderator] posted on the Tzfat yahoogroup

I went out to the grocery store to buy a few items this morning. When I> got to the curb I saw army van after army van interspersed with army> police cars passing, one after the other. I had to wait quite a while> for them all to pass. They were traveling in the direction of the main> highway. At first I was positive about seeing them. I thought that a> "big fish" had been caught and that they were on their way to finish a> mission. When I got to the grocery store I asked the owner what the> procession was. He saw that there was a note of positivity in my face.> He looked at me squarely and said: "Coffins". I somehow managed to buy> what I had to, having gone into a state of shock. I returned home and I> told my husband what I had experienced. For the first time since the> beginning of the war; I broke down in hysterical tears. My husband came> over to me to comfort me. That picture doesn't leave me. I can't get> it out of my mind. I've been sleeping a good part of the day and I had a> rather long angina attack. The pain ran into my arm and my jaw even> though I am now on medications to stave off a heart attack. I can> stand the danger that I'm in, but I can't stand to think about the boys> and men that are dead, wounded and, especially, missing. Doreen>

Shabbat -- from the Smolenskys

about Shabbas, also by Moshe & Yaffa:Our cautious walk of four blocks to synagogue on Shabbat was quiet. We know that sirens could sound at any time and it is not recommended to be on the street at that time.. A quick lesson in sirens/attacks.There are five types: 1. sirens first and then rockets 2. rockets first and then sirens 3. both together 4. rockets only and the best, 5. Sirens only.Sadly, the huge synagogue was empty for the exception of 7 men, therefore there was no minyan. We know of only three shuls in this area that are open to any extent and perhaps three in the Old City of Tzfat including the ancient Abuhav Shul that sustained some damage from a recent hit. This is out of around 100 shuls in Tzfat.Around mid afternoon two young soldiers came to our building with a clip board. They were determining how many people were here and they checked the shelter. It was declared unfit; nothing new to us. They indicated that things may get worse in Tzfat and that they were preparing for a possible evacuation. G-d willing it won't come to that. However, it does make you think about what we would take if we were forced to leave. What is really important in our life that we can fit into our little car?Around 3:30 Shabbat afternoon the first attack commenced followed by two others. Some rockets were very close to our house. Around 8 PM another attack with rockets peppering the area and some were very, very close. One hit in the Canaan neighborhood about 4 blocks from our house between Beit Chana Girls' School and the Chabad Shul. A rocket smacked into a power box next to a sports building and knocked out electricity to a portion of this neighborhood. We had electricity but the street lights were out and it was pitch black. I could see up the street that there were no lights in any of the homes. After 30 minutes the power was restored.A scene in Fiddler on the Roof comes to mind when the Police Chief stood in the street of the little village after all the Jews were ordered to leave. The wind was the only companion of the Police Chief and he obviously missed the presence of the Jews. We who remain in Tzfat miss those who left for whatever reason. The City of Tzfat looks sad in one way but those who are here and who are able, are helping in many different ways so the city retains some life.Sunday started out with a bang with the first attack about 10:45 AM (as generally expected). I had just brought Roxy up from the garden in anticipation and Tubby-cat decided it was time to come in, as well. We lost track of how many attacks or how many rockets slammed into the city or swooshed past our neighborhood. Later we learned that two people were injured and there was one fatality. A rocket hit near, or on, the police station located above us and another missed the gas station on the main road near the new Macbi Health Building. Others landed in parts unknown.In spite of what's swirling around us politically or swooshing over us, Lev U'Neshama is planning on a produce delivery tomorrow, Monday, to about 40 families in hard-pressed southern Tzfat neighborhoods where the hospital has been a main target. We will maintain our course of helping those in Tzfat as long as we can.The purported "cease fire" doesn't elicit any hope in most people in Israel. We pray for our abducted soldiers whose return is supposed to be a main item in any cease fire. Any mention of them? The Hezbollah said it would continue fighting as long as Israel has soldiers in Lebanon. If we leave, the Hezbollah will claim victory and regroup and then what? Lebanon says it will send 15,000 of its troops to Southern Lebanon. They are mostly Shiite so they would probably side with the Hezbollah so then Israel will have to face more troops. Wonderful! And Hezbollah will invite International forces from the UN to smoke hashish with them? We're wondering what the Master Plan holds in store for us and we pray that the suffering we've endured will not be for naught.Keep tuned to the conturing saga of the People of Israel.Moshe & Yaffa, your "on-the-spot war corespondents from Tzfat"

Video of an attack

VIDEO - Roee Yakobovich, 31, who manages the "Friends of the Ziv hospital" project, sent the following e-mail to his friends and acquaintances:,7340,L-3290563,00.html

Media Accuracy

Reuter's photo of bombing in Beruit

[moderator] Bloggers and media watchdogs are beginning to pick up on anti-Israel media which doctors reports and photos of the war. and are two organizations which have been very active in following this trend, especially among certain media outlets like Reuters, and exposing them. They have put together a short movie which should be viewed by anyone concerned about honesty in the media. Posted by Picasa

Further questions are asked in a YNet article.,7340,L-3284546,00.html

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Message to LIvnot volunteers from Ziv hospital

Rabbi Avi Weiss, on a visit to the Tzfat Ziv hospital. Taken by Yonah Berman.

[moderator] each evening, Livnot volunteers go to the Tzfat hospital, one of the main medical centers of the North, to visit wounded soldiers and comfort their families.

"To the volunteers at Livnot U’Lehibanot…

This war has taught, and will continue to teach me, many things
Stories of heroism and bravery side by side with grief and loss
Pain of the wounded, and soldier camaraderie!
Yet, above all amazing things, it has shown me you!
Jews of the Diaspora, Jews of the world, our brothers!!!
Coming from four corners of the world for one reason –
Your heart knew no rest in foreign lands, your heart was here in Israel.
Putting your own life in danger, an act which many of our own brothers here in our own land have forgotten.

And this, only to bring us a bit of comfort, an encouraging word and a warm hug to us all
To the soldiers fighting in the front lines against the enemy – terrorists – whose ways darken the human race
And to the all the citizens declaring – here we will always stay!
This experience of yours has been an enlightening one, may you pass it on to all.
Tell them about your experiences here in Israel, in the shadow of this war and make them understand …
We have no other land! And we are all one people – a people of a repeating past and present
Thank you from the depths of my heart for your actions and help and for all your amazing work.
Hold our hands and send us hugs from wherever you are
We need these hugs, and the proof of the strength and unity of our people as a nation.
In conclusion, please remember that our hearts are forever bound together….
Come...visit us, and we would be delighted if you stay here forever - in our amazing Land of Israel – and make it your home.

Gad Even-Zur
Medical Organization Officer
Ziev Hospital, Tzfat Posted by Picasa

Friday -- The Smolenskys

Livnot volunteer bringing food and help to homebound elderly resident of Tzfat last week.

[moderator] from the Smolenskys:

Mr. S is a member of the Tzfat City Council. His parents live in the building next to ours. His father died about two months ago at a very old age but nonetheless, missed. Another member of his family, a young lady, died in a terrorist attack recently. Now, the family was hit again by the tragic news that Mr. and Mrs. S have lost their 20 year old son in Lebanon. Mr. S will not succumb to the pain of all these losses. Instead he arranged for a large truck to come to Tzfat from Zikron Yaakov filled with produce and staples for the people in Tzfat. He first came to the neighborhood of his mother and workers piled on the sidewalk bags of potatoes, boxes filled with a variety of staples, small boxes of fruit, watermelons so that people could come and take what they needed. It was a joyful scene and the workers wished everyone a Good Shabbos. Mr. S sat in his car at a small distance from the truck and watched the scene of people benefiting from his efforts and certainly I think his heart swelled with joy. A wonderful way to turn his personal losses into good. Soon Mr. S drove away, followed by the truck to another stop in the city. Every stop in the city must have given him increased joy at the sight of people getting helped from his efforts to deal with the pain in his heart.
Everyone in a war suffers losses. However, I am deeply disturbed with the scenes we view on our computer news as well as stories we read about Lebanese civilians suffering in their bomb shelters and pictures of traumatized children and wailing women. They parade their dead to provoke and use as public relations vehicles. Are these people innocent civilians or supporters of Hezbollah who attacked Israel? Or are they just victims of the weak Lebanese government that is supportive as well as manipulated and overpowered by a recognized terrorist group called Hezbollah whose publicly professed agenda is to destroy Israel and then march on to conquer the world?
Life continues in Tzfat in spite of everything and this morning people scurried about getting ready for Shabbos knowing that attacks could come at any time. The morning was quiet; we got our cooking done. This afternoon there were three periods of siren warnings and rockets slammed into the Western side of Tzfat in attempts to reach the hospital. Many families are living at least part of the time in shelters and Lev U'Neshama is getting food to them as well as delivering to homes.
Chickens don't know about war. They continue to happily lay eggs. A woman called offering flats of eggs to be used by Lev U'Neshama. They were delivered this morning to shelters by an affable gentlemen in Tzfat with a car that looked like in ran on prayers. Along with the eggs went sacks of other requested items purchased at two local small stores that LUN is doing business with in attempts to keep them open and available. Produce will be delivered to shelters this Monday, G-d willing.
The lights are flickering and I might lose electricity so I'll take this time to wish everyone a peaceful Shabbat, whether it is observed on Saturday or Sunday. We're all in this together, you know.
Moshe & Yaffa, your still-smiling, on-the-spot war correspondents. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dispatch from Northern Israel --

Dispatch From Northern Israel
Dodging the missiles that rain down on an almost empty city.By Rebecca SinderbrandPosted Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006, at 2:03 PM ET
A wounded Israeli in TzfatTZFAT, Israel—You only have to worry if you hear a whistle, Keren explained calmly between swigs of beer. That means the missile's close enough to hit you or reach you with a spray of shrapnel or ball bearings. For the sixth time in less than an hour yesterday, air-raid sirens were sounding in the city of Tzfat in Israel's far north. The two of us were crouched behind a stone wall on the edge of the old city. My view was limited to our gray Peugeot, idling where we'd left it in a small clearing, and the rest of the car's occupants—Yossi, 23-year-old Hadassah, and her friend from Jerusalem—plastered against the edge of a crumbling stone staircase about a dozen yards away. I already knew, without be able to see it, that the other side of the wall offered some of the most breathtaking scenery for miles around. Just below lay the deep blue waters of the Galilee, the lake the Israelis call the Kinneret; beyond that, the mountains of Lebanon. It made for a stunningly beautiful battlefield.
A few moments or minutes later, in the near distance, we heard a dull thud. The sirens faded soon after. "OK, I think we can probably go soon," said Keren, straightening a bit and handing me her beer bottle. "Here, you have the rest." She insisted, so I took a gulp of her Goldstar. It was warm and tasteless. I drank most of it anyway.
It had been slow going through Tzfat so far, but the culprit wasn't traffic; the only cars we encountered were ambulances or army vehicles. Pedestrians appeared only sporadically, surfacing long enough to scurry through town in the silence between sirens. Many homes in the city, the mystical home of Kabbalah, now lie empty. Some of the others are filled with sick or elderly residents, abandoned when their caretakers fled the fighting. Keren and her team, volunteers from the Jewish charity Livnot, were making the rounds to visit these shut-ins; their progress halted every three or four blocks by air-raid sirens.

About five minutes after I polished off the beer, as we drove down a quiet residential street, the warning blared again—louder now. Then, just moments after that—maybe 100 feet away from us, just on the other side of a row of crumbling old homes—we heard a roar like thunder on the ground. The windows of the car vibrated slightly; Keren went pale, and Yossi's hands jerked on the steering wheel. We sped down a side street and careened to a sudden stop. As we peeled out of the car and clambered into a darkened apartment stairwell for shelter, I caught a glimpse of the plumes of smoke and dust billowing behind us. Much later, I realized that I didn't remember hearing a whistle after all.
That missile was one of about 160 to hit northern Israel yesterday, falling in and around the towns of Kiryat Shemona, Nahariya, Ma'alot, and Tzfat; a month into the conflict, that number seems to be about average for a single day. The actual damage inside Israel's borders was relatively minimal: Few structures were hit or destroyed, and most injuries were relatively minor. But the psychological toll, from Hezbollah's perspective, was much bigger. As I headed out of the city that night, I asked Ziv, a Haifa resident, how he thought Israel was doing against the militant group. "I don't know," he cracked, as our car rounded a curve in the road where a Katyusha had just blasted a chunk out of the hillside and blackened the surrounding shrubs. "Does this look like we're winning to you?"
Even Israelis who make their homes south of the current missile range are starting to share Ziv's pessimism. Earlier this week, Haaretz reported that Tel Aviv's garbage men were straining under a war-related trash surge. Apparently, after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's latest threat to attack the city, residents began clearing out the safe rooms that are standard in every Israeli apartment—transforming them from junk repositories back into bomb shelters, just in case. Like their Lebanese counterparts, every Israeli seems to know someone who's been called up for military service, wounded, or killed. "I think both sides are losing," said security guard Chen Amnon, a veteran of the 1982 Lebanon war. "We need results, something we can hold on to. Right now, we don't have any results."
Many experts agree. "So far, the IDF has been unsuccessful in the most important respect: Hezbollah's ability to strike the north hasn't been altered," says Yoni Fighel of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. "Here is our problem: In Israel, we have a 'Lebanon syndrome,' like you in America had the 'Vietnam syndrome.' " It's been only six years since Israel dragged itself from what commentators call "the Lebanese swamp," and politicians still seem queasy about wading back in. Airstrikes alone won't do the trick against Hezbollah's missile caches, but for weeks, Israeli leadership held off on ordering a major infantry assault into Lebanon, asking generals to keep coming up with more tactical options that might result in fewer military casualties. So, the ground raids were limited operations, where Israeli troops were at a tactical disadvantage against well-trained Hezbollah fighters with a lifetime of experience navigating the local terrain. If the IDF has been able to make any headway on the ground this way so far it hasn't improved the situation on the Israeli side of the border; some towns in the northern part of the country are emptying almost as fast as villages in southern Lebanon. "For weeks, we have been in a state of strategic stagnation," a frustrated Fighel told me today. "We aren't thinking from the operational point of view; we are thinking politically. We cannot continue like this." (The counterterrorism researcher may soon get a closer view of the fight; just two days ago, he was told to stand by for military reserve duty.)
At the ICT offices on the campus of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya this morning, Fighel traced his fingers across a map in an arc from the Bekaa Valley to Kiryat Shemona and back. If the IDF wanted to end the missile threat from Hezbollah completely, he said, ground forces would need to deploy north all the way to Beirut to deal with medium- and long-range Katyushas. "This is, as you can probably guess, a bit unrealistic in the long-term," he said dryly. If troops could somehow reach the southern banks of the Litani River, which slices across Lebanon, and hold that ground until cease-fire details were worked out to Israel's advantage, they could probably eliminate most of the short-range missiles raining down on the northern part of the country (more than 3,000 during the four weeks of the conflict). If the infantry campaign ends much farther south than that, "Israel is worse off than when we started, because in Hezbollah's mind—and to everyone else in the region—we will have lost."
"We cannot afford a cease-fire in the current reality," he said bluntly. "Israeli civilian infrastructure is like a strategic brick. If you hit it just right, the whole wall collapses." It seems the structure is already crumbling. Earlier this week, Israeli officials decided to evacuate most of the few remaining residents of Kiryat Shemona. Other cities are dying more quietly; Livnot's Tzfat routes are slowly depopulating, as even the most helpless find ways out of town. Last week, one elderly couple left to attend their grandson's funeral after he was killed in fighting just a few miles over the border; they haven't been back. Another woman made frantic plans to flee after a piece of shrapnel tore through a bedroom flying over her husband's head as he idled on the bed and wedged itself into a suitcase in the back of a closet.
As in Lebanon, nobody knows how many of these refugees will ultimately return, mostly because nobody thinks the end of the fighting means the fighting has ended. Many residents seem increasingly reluctant to sign on to a future that may always feature some version of Keren's Katyusha-dodging routine. "Every few years, we have to go clear things out in Lebanon," Chen Amnon told me resignedly this morning, as more missiles rained down on Tzfat. "It never stops. In five or six years, we'll be back."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Smolensky's daily log -- Wednesday

Wednesday was much quieter in Tsfas, Baruch Hashem. Just a few sirens and I didn't hear any close ones.--chana**************************************************************Tuesday was a very busy day. We spent a lot of time in our "safe room" for eleven separate alarms over about 4 hours. However, just like the mail in the US, the food deliveries took place with Faga "riding shotgun," just like in the old Western movies. Levi is owns one of the three small private stores in our area. She and Levi's 18 year old son began delivering food boxes about 10:30 AM. Shortly after they began the sirens wailed. They were in the southern part of Tzfat which has been hit repeatedly because it is close to our hospital. The hospital is a designated target. A few buildings in that area have sustained some minor damage recently and many families live in shelters; returning to their apartments in the tall buildings only to shower, cook, change clothes, etc. The surrounding area, including the valley between Tzfat and Meron is blackened in many areas from multiple rockets landing, exploding and causing fires.Faga asked Levi's son if he was going to stop the car because rockets started falling. He asked her just where she wanted him to stop. No answer; he kept driving. A rocket whizzed very close over the road and Faga exclaimed, "That as a close one!" Levi's son replied, "No it wasn't; see, it went over the hill" and he kept driving. Grateful families received their food boxes and Faga and her stalwart driver were grateful to return home. Levi did not charge Lev U'Neshama for having his son help with delivering the food boxes. He said it was his Mitzvah.Lev U'Neshama is desperately trying to keep at least three small stores open by having them deliver food boxes to as many families as we can service with available funds. Some families are running up large credit bills and it is uncertain as to how they will pay.The City of Tzfat was delivering food to some neighborhoods and the workers were dropping off boxes in parking lots or on the street. Fights actually broke out between families vying for the food. Felicia, a friend of mine, needed protection by her older son and a friend of her son, to get food boxes delivered from Lev U'Neshama into the shelter where she and four other families have been living for almost a month. Food for four families was portioned out to help nine families.The Army is now in charge of delivering food directly to people's homes who are listed on a city roster. They take photos of people to verify who got before, etc. This should help the situation.Batya, an 80 plus year old widow, living with her two little dogs, is a neighbor. Two windows were shattered from a nearby explosion and I called our contractor to fix the windows, screens and shutters. Meir set a price to only cover costs and neighbors contributed. However, days passed and he did not come. Yesterday he called from Jerusalem and told me that he was at a hospital there because his nephew was wounded in Lebanon. I told him not to worry about the windows because the City sent workers to do the work. He said, "I know, I called them because I couldn't come and she needed the work to be done." Most of the synagogues in Tzfat are closed. No one is on the streets and only a few cars are seen periodically. Two large grocery stores are open; there are few shoppers and the shelves are getting a little sparse. Bread is getting a little difficult to obtain. I think one bakery is open. Attacks usually come late morning and mid-afternoon. When sirens sound, everyone anticipates the ensuing sounds of rockets slamming into the city. We know that those that miss us are hitting others in our city and that doesn't make us feel any better.This afternoon I spoke with a friend who lives in the Old City. She said she and her husband were invited to a wedding in Jerusalem but they didn't go becaue her husband said that if he were not in Tzfat, there might not be a minyon in his shul (ten men needed for a service) and that was unacceptable.Moshe and I are busy daily on the computer and the phone, doing our best to help Lev U'Neshama. Our work keeps us focused. We must be focused because those who choose to remain are increasingly calling upon our resources. When people return to Tzfat, there will be even more work to do.Someone sent us a computer video, about six minutes long, that we highly recommend. It presents a true picture of what's going on in Israel. It will provide a different perspective than what you might be seeing on American TV. well,Moshe & Yaffa in Tzfat, your personal "on-the-spot war correspondents"

Joelle -- outstanding Livnot volunteer

[moderator] Joelle works with Admissions for Livnot U'Lehibanot. She took her work up north last week to be part of Livnot's relief effort and stand together with Northern residents during this period.

What is important? I feel like I've lost some perspective. I've been up in Tzfat since last Wednesday - 1 week now. And I'm exhausted. It's a different type of exhausted than I'm used to. It's an emotional exhaustion. There is so much happiness abounding around all the volunteers that are here doing this so important job. I am here and doing volunteer work as well as trying to find time for my job. Even when there is happiness, and I can't help think of my friends that are currently in Lebanon. My friend from graduate Lebanon. My friend's husband is in Lebanon and they just told me a few weeks ago that she is pregnant with her third child. I feel the need for some sort of release. Just writing starting to make me cry. There have been over 60 soldiers - not even counting civilians - that have been killed since this war began. That's 60 of our brothers and sisters. And every day I'm in fear of finding out that it's one of my friends. Being back here in Tzfat...this war became real. And I keep holding back tears...they are on the brink, but then I think, I need to be strong.I'm going back to Jerusalem tomorrow - and it's a different world there. It's peaceful and quiet and beautiful. And there's no war there. It's like being in Canada right now. No different. tzfat...well, the other volunteers are cooking for a bbq right now and we're not even allowed to stand out on that beautiful peaceful mirpeset (porch) that I love so much. Just to sit there and look out.I went to a ma'ayan (spring) with a few woman late on Saturday night - for a late night dip. We got there and the whole place was on fire. We had to leave. It was so sad. More than sad - it was so difficult to tear ourselves away from there. But it was dangerous for us to stay. The next day, someone drove to take a look at the ma'ayan...and all the area around it was burned down. Our poor nature. And you learn to thank G-d that the katyusha hit there, and not somewhere closer to civilian life. I was at the hospital yesterday with my friend Pesach and we were visiting injuedred soldiers and playing some music...and then katyushas hit right near the hospital. Who does that? Who aims for a hospital? One has to ask themselves what we are up against.I am so tired right now. I started this email hours ago and just came back to it now. Pesach taught me a few chords on the guitar and he and I were jamming. He challenged me to write a song and I actually started doing it. Crazy stuff. No one ever challenged me in that way before. I never knew I had it in me. So, I started. And the words started coming in hebrew. So bizarre. We played together last night at the hospital - me strumming my two chords and he played on his Native american flute. And a soldier we were playing to slowly drifted off to sleep. After we tip toed out of the room, we chatted with his family who were crying. We asked why. His three friends were killed right in front of him and he killed their killers. And he hasn't been able to sleep since. Wow.War sucks. I can't think of another word for it.Peace and love...Joelle

David -- Livnot volunteer stupendous!

David M was a participant on 2 livnot programs, 176 and 179, and is now volunteering in Tzfat for Livnot's community service program.

By 1pm today we had 17 rocket hits in Tzfat. For most of them a lot of us were out driving about, getting food out and checking on people. I found another shelter that needs work on it for the people living down in it, mostly elderly and some Ethiopian families. There are no working toilets or lights.The last two days were quiet. When I asked a friend from the IDF Home Command to explain the not-really-a-cease-fire to me he said simply,"The calm before the storm," and gave a chuckle.He was right. Today the storm is rolling in. I want to stand on the balcony and swat at the rockets with my walking stick, the ol'lucky oak, slapping them as easily as I dispatch the mosquito's constantly irritating my sleep.I told an elderly woman today, when she asked me how much longer thewar would last, in a voice that came from me but carried information sourced from I don't know where, "A long time. It'll be a hard war but don't worry. We'll keep you safe." They believed me and thanked us deeply. I intend to make sure those words stay standing.In Tzfat, still alive. No worries, but smoking more than usual...(oh,yeah, I fell off the wagon here. *shrugs*

NJ Times -- Pesach, Livnot volunteer extrodinnaire!

[moderator] Pesach Stadlin has been staying in Israel throughout the summer to lead Livnot groups and now to volunteer for Livnot's community service program. Pesach is the one with the flute) His experience was written up by the New Jersey Times.

Jerseyan stays in Israel to help out
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Jeremy Stadlin was delivering a meal to a home in Safed, a town in northern Israel 10 miles from the Lebanon border, on Friday when he heard a siren warning that rockets would soon fall.
The 1997 Princeton High School graduate got out of the car he was in, ducked into the concrete enclo sure for a trash bin and listened to the whir of the rocket as it passed over his head.
"It sounded almost like I heard a really giant Frisbee," Stadlin said of the noise as the rocket passed.
For Stadlin, 27, as for many oth ers in the border area, the sound of rockets and the subsequent explo sions have been a part of daily life for much of the past month.
Stadlin fled Safed with a college-age tour group he was leading in July after rocket attacks began from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, but he decided to go back two weeks ago to do what he can to help the community there.
Stadlin has lived in Israel for the past 13 months and felt it was his duty to help. For the past two weeks, he has delivered meals to isolated families and has played his flute and guitar for wounded soldiers and Safed residents.
"I came back because I'm not a soldier, ... I'm not a fighter, I don't think it's in my character, but I feel it is my duty (to be) here," Stadlin said in a phone interview yesterday. "I just knew that there was work I could do. If not me, I don't know who would."
Stadlin, a self-described free spirit, said he is a peace lover but feels that if Israel didn't fight, it would mean the destruction of the country. He works as a volunteer for Livnot, an organization that connects young Jewish people to Israel.
He will soon be joined by his mother, Maxine Elkins, and stepfather, Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, who are making a five-day trip to Israel next week.
Since graduating from Princeton High School, Stadlin has traveled much of the time. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh and Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia before spending time in the Pacific Northwest and volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala.
He had found peace and quiet in Safed, which is also spelled Tzfat. The town, the historic center of the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, had not been the subject of attacks in 25 years.
That peace seemed distant yesterday as Stadlin felt the hospital he was in shudder from a blast of a Katyusha rocket, and could look out and describe seeing two plumes of smoke.
He said many people have been living in bomb shelters for three weeks. The threat from rockets can be nerve-wracking while he is outside delivering food.
"You just pray and hope it does not land on you," he said.
He plays his instruments at the hospital as a token of thanks for the soldiers' efforts. He recalled a soldier who had been unable to sleep for two days after his friends were killed. "We played really gently. We played for 20, 25 minutes" and the soldier fell asleep, he said. He added that he had composed several songs to play to the accompaniment of the warning si rens.
Stadlin has known victims of the conflict. Michael Levin, the former Holland, Bucks County, Pa., resident and Israeli sergeant who was killed in Lebanon last week, had shared Sabbath meals with Stadlin in Jerusalem, Stadlin said.
Stadlin made sure he had his family's blessing when he decided to return to Safed. He said other people don't want their families to know where they are, but he knew he could count on his family's support.
Stadlin recalled a conversation with his father, Steven Stadlin of Philadelphia, quoting him as say ing, "My gut reaction is that I would tell you to come home, but I know you won't come home."
His stepfather and mother live in Princeton Township, while his father and stepmother live in Philadelphia. Stadlin also has an identi cal twin, Yoni. Stadlin's stepfather, Dov Peretz Elkins, retired as rabbi of the Princeton Jewish Center and now serves as rabbi of a congrega tion in Montville, Morris County.
Maxine Elkins said she and her husband will be making the trip to Israel for the same reason that she said her son has stayed in Safed -- to make sure Israel is secure.
"We're very proud that he chose to do this and help," she said.
On his Web site, www.jerstad, Stadlin shares stories of his time in Israel. Stadlin has a ticket to return to the United States next week, but he doesn't know whether he will return or make Israel his permanent home.
Contact Andrew Kitchenman at or (609) 989-5706.

Shabbat in Tzfat

Livnot volunteers visiting wounded soldiers in the hospital.

[I don't remember if I posted this, but R' Avi Weiss from Riverdale wrote an account of his visit to Tzfat, Shabbat with Livnot and the Botzers, and his visit to the Tzfat hospital]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

from the Smolenskys -- the Canaan neighborhood

It wasn't even close to "Singin' in the Rain" with Gene Kelly, but it sounded wonderful anyway. A young father urged the children in the shelter next to our house to sing loudly in order to drown out the sounds of the rockets hitting Tzfat this afternoon (Monday). It reminded me of children drowning out the name of Haman when the Book of Esther is read during the holiday Purim. Haman was the wicked viceroy to King Ahasuerus of ancient Persia, (present day Iran). Haman plotted to destroy the Jews. Now, again, Iran is in the picture as it subsidizes the Hezbollah who are trying to eradicate the Jews in Israel.
Monday began with its usual uncertainty. The first sirens of the day began about 10:45 AM and some rockets hit Tzfat. We can't hear all of the explosions due to our position on one of several mountain tops that comprise the city. At 11:15 AM we decided to take advantage of what we thought was a lull and make a dash for the grocery store with Faga in the back seat. It seemed unreal to be grocery shopping with the reverberation in the store from our big guns streaming shells to Lebanon. Some shelves are getting a little sparse, particularly the dairy case. The meat counter is closed and there was practically no bread to buy.
A quick drive into the city to do an errand revealed that every store was closed. A pizza place, a bank, produce store and a money exchange place were open.
The pattern is some rockets in the morning and then again starting about 3:30 PM. It's a good idea to start cooking dinner early due to all the interruptions of sirens, etc.
The afternoon was busy with usual computer work for Lev U'Neshama. We are gratified with emails, prayers and donations from friends around in America and Canada. This week we are sending boxes of food to 36 families including some who are in shelters.
Yes, by 3:30 PM the sirens sounded. Some were very close and we decided to put pillows on the floor in our safe area to give ourselves added protection before the next round. Roxy and Tubby-cat like the new arrangement. Ramat Rezem, an Eastern neighborhood was hit hard this afternoon as was the Western part of the city. One tall building was damaged but no injuries because the residents were in shelters. Two residential buildings were hit in Me'or Chaim and fires billowed smoke into the humid, hot air of the afternoon. These buildings are in the path of rockets which are aimed toward hitting Siev Hospital. The Hezbollah have publicly stated that they will hit our hospitals, schools and old age homes. Patients in our hospital have been moved to lower floors and away from windows. Same for Rambam Hospital in Haifa.
Brave warriors, these Hezbollah. We fire at military targets including the hospital in Lebanon that had been turned into Hezbollah headquarters. But we are accused of attacking one of their "hospitals". How upside down is our world, as part of the prophesy of the Sages; Israel is attacked and WE are the aggressors.
It has become the routine during and after attacks to call friends who live in other parts of the city to check on their well being. It is with concern that we saw smoke rising from the other side of the city this afternoon. It is with concern that we hear and feel the sickening thud of rockets into the mountainside and wonder who got hit this time. We listen and wait and pray for the best.
Your prayers are so important; please continue for all of us.
Moshe and Yaffa

Livnot Update

[moderator] can't upload pictures on blogger today, but there are some amazing ones...hope that tomorrow, there will be some new pics.

Livnot Volunteers Featured in Jerusalem Post

Jerusalem Post: A Look at Volunteers in Tzfat
Kudos to the Chevre - Livnot Programs Continue

Quick Links
Yahoo group on behalf of Michael Even-Esh Livnot Home Page LIVNOT EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN

Livnot continues to host volunteers and organize relief efforts from its Tzfat Campus. Shalom Friends, We would like to take this opportunity to update you on some of the events happening here at Livnot and in Tzfat. Firstly, our own Michael Even-Esh and his army unit have been called up to the war front. We pray for his safety and the safety of all of our soldiers. A Yahoo group was created by chevre to share thoughts and prayers. See the link on the left hand side of this newsletter. Secondly, Gabi Nachmani, Livnot's Jerusalem-based Director of the Community Service Program, has been helping with the group's volunteer efforts in Tzfat. He has a son of his own fighting in Lebanon and the Jerusalem Post has printed his first hand account of the activities of our volunteers. Finally, the recently launched Livnot Emergency Campaign has been met with tremendous response. We thank you all for your generous support. Wishing you a good week, Yonah David Livnot U'Lehibanot Jerusalem

Jerusalem Post: A Look at Volunteers in Tzfat
Livnot volunteers visit a wounded soldier in the Tzfat hospital.Thirteen volunteers went to the hospital for a visit. We called the officer in charge of the wounded soldiers in the hospital, and proceeded to make care packages for the soldiers. “Don’t put socks in the packages,” instructed the officer, “because one of the soldiers lost a leg, and it might be sensitive.” Excerpt from the Jerusalem Post story. [moderator]if this link is taken down by the JPost, look at this blog's Sunday August 6th posts].

Kudos to the Chevre - Livnot Programs Continue

Participants give each other support while giving blood at Magen David Adom.
On Wednesday, July 24th, fighting broke out on the northern border. This happened just as the participants from the Livnot Hike & Explore 3 week program were descending the Yehudia canyon in the Golan Heights. They did not hear the news until they finished the hike. While the program changed its itinerary to locate in Jerusalem and the south, the participant’s spirit and energy remained high. They added some extra community service including donating blood and preparing care packages for soldiers and families in the north. Livnot has continued its educational programming for Jewish leadership groups. A pilot program for Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellows, in conjunction with Hillel on campus, toured the country and participated in community service projects. The group was very motivated and is comprised of individuals who will be spending the next two years engaging young Jews on college campuses throughout North America. They left Israel very inspired and we look forward to hosting them again in quieter times. In addition, we are currently in the final days of our last birthright israel program of the summer. From 40 registrants, we were blessed with 11 intrepid souls. We incorporate as much community service into the program as we can, for the benefit of the soldiers and citizens of the north. The participants are finding their time here inspiring and their contributions very meaningful. The Ethiopian Bnai Mitzvah Project, which has been running since April, is coming to an end with the children receiving a meaningful celebration at this momentous time in their lives. Despite the attacks on Tzfat, family and friends from the Ethiopian immigrant community came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs of their children. Next week, new groups of 30Somethings and Educators are arriving in Israel. While the group might be smaller than usual because of the situation, we anticipate that it will be a powerful experience, for them and for us. While it is often hard to focus on programming when surrounded by fighting and loss of life, Livnot will continue to help others and celebrate life. This is truly an expression of the strength of the Jewish People. May we all be blessed with Peace, speedily in our days. Meir Paltiel Director of Programs

We at Livnot are looking to share our stories with others. If you know of people who would like to be on our mailing list please send us their addresses. Kindly forward this link to your friends and family. Thank you,
The Livnot Family

Keeping focused -- the Zatloffs

[moderator] The Zatloffs and several of their six children have chosen to remain in Tzfat and assist. Schnuer is working with the Livnot volunteer program.


Dear family and friends,
Shalom to everyone! It's been a while since my last missive. I was sick with fever and flu for a few days and rested as much as possible. I didn't go out volunteering for three days but yesterday, Sunday, I returned to the job. It's amazing. I haven't owned a car in about 13 years and in the past two weeks I've driven old ones new ones, vans and compacts. They're cutting down on meal recipients and slowly want to limit most meals to seniors who are alone and without help or families in great need. The city wants to gradually encourage people to return to some sort of "normal" living, meaning shopping and cooking at home more. Some of the shelters have cooking facilities so people inside have prepared food there but these kinds of shelters are exceptions rather than the rule. Today we spent more time in each home, assessing each situation. We needed to ascertain who needs social services, who is more independent, who needs meals, cleaning help or who needs volunteers to visit them during the morning hours. Livnot volunteers ( the organization I'm working with) engage in many activities during the morning hours, such as visiting people, cleaning homes or driving people to doctors or to the hospital. One older man lives alone and is driven by Livnot volunteers three times a week to the hospital for dialysis treatment.

We're still experiencing rocket barrages in our area, including Zfat, which are mainly during the day and hardly ever at night. Many people have been writing and inquiring as to how we cope with the situation. I've been trying to analyze my own reactions as well as those of others. I find that when I'm focused on a specific activity or goal then I react with more calm, determination and inner strength. For example, there is a tendency at times to be "anticipating" a rocket attack, and such anticipation, even on a small scale, is enough to cause tiredness and differents degrees of "burn-out". However, when I'm driving, even though I dread the thought of an attack, my goal is delivering those meals and helping those people and Nasrallah and his cohorts can go to hell. (Hell is too good for them, actually) I drive along, and if I hear a siren I simply stop on the side of the road and we find shelter. Immediately afterwards we're back on the road. My reactions and thoughts are calm and calculated. I have a mission to accomplish.
Our neighbors the Smolenskys, close friends of ours, have all their children and grandchildren in America. They manage, along with several others, a very essential and important community social service project for needy families in Zfat. They receive donations mainly from abroad. The organization, Lev U'Neshama, (means Heart and Soul) aids large families with weekly or monthly food deliveries of basic staples, provides financial help for dental work, eyeglasses and shoes for children. They are focused all the time. They are busy and goal oriented. When sirens go off, they simply stop what they're doing, go into their inner closed off room, wait for the sirens to stop, and then proceed with whatever planning, mailings or computer work they were involved in. Another friend of ours, Chana Besser, who also teaches high school with me, keeps up with local, national and community news and sends e-mailings to a long list of people with information, articles and personal stories written by others. Miriam, for example, is busy at home, looking in on neighbors, watching the kids when I'm out, or on the phone with friends and family who want information about us and the situation. She also keeps contact with her friends who stayed in Zfat, and everyone receives support, inner strength and spiritual revitalization from each other. Last week I saw a friend whom I pray with in my synagogue. I went to his home one night, and over ice cold beer we studied some texts of the weekly Torah portion, and also spoke openly about personal feelings, thoughts and experiences connected with the present situation. I felt more spiritually strengthened and calmer inside. I was ready to tackle another day.
Of course, there are times when the "wear and tear" becomes heavy and overbearing, and we reconsider whether we should remain in Zfat with the younger children or find some temporary haven from the sirens, rockets, a half deserted city and the need to remain in close promity of our home except for shopping or going to the synagogue, etc.

Another phenomenon of "wear and tear" which is affecting many of us can be called "Sirens on the Mind" syndrome. Whereas some people have what's known as "ringing in the ears", many of us here have "sirens in ears", sirens going off in the mind even when they are not really sounding. I could be laying down, sitting in the car or in a chair and I sometimes "hear" the sounds of sirens. Sometimes I check if something is really happening. It's eerie at times and you just want the "inner siren" to turn off. I was in the synagogue this past Shabbat, and somebody moved a table with metal legs and the scraping noise on the floor caused many of us to turn suddenly because it sounded similar to the metal-scaping high pitched explosive sound the Katyshua makes when it explodes.

So far, my younger children are mostly calm. They have their friends across the way, their DVDs, computer, books and games. The shelter is under the building, and they sometimes play there. For them the sirens means an "interruption", albeit as times a very fearful one, but they have a structured daily schedule in familiar surroundings. This gives them a feeling a some stability and security.

People keep writing what they can do for us in Israel. I suggest increasing prayer and especially Tzeddakah, charity. The organization I mentioned above for example, Lev U'Neshama, has a website. It is Livnot also has a website which I don't have on me now but I'll try to include in my next letter.

We are ALL in this together, people united in their efforts to survive, encourage and overcome the forces of evil which are trying to destroy us personally and the world we live in.
Thank you all so much for writing us, it is heartening to receive even a few words of encouragement, love and concern.

May G-d protect us and bless us and may He send us immediate redemption!!!

Sincerely and with love,
The Zatloffs of Zfat
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Monday, August 07, 2006

A moment to relax

Despite the ravages of war, the Center for Healthy Living in Tzfat continues its mission to improve quality of life using available resources in harmony with the natural world. Due to a fortuitous stroke of scheduling we are blessed to have nearby at this time Avishai Pearlson, Breema teacher par excellence who is visiting his family in kibbutz Kfar HaNassi near Tzfat. Breema is a system of gentle movements, bodywork and principles of harmony that can help in balancing body, mind and feelings. It can be effective in dealing with stress, normal and extraordinary, and supports being fully present and available. The Center, in conjunction with Livnot U'lehibanot, is sponsoring Avishai in a Breema workshop tonight, August 7 at 8:00 pm. This is a hands-on introductory workshop in which people will experience and practice Breema. It is suitable for people new to Breema or as a refresher for those already familiar with it. It will be in Hebrew and English. To accomodate maximum participation it will be held at the Livnot campus (in a safe room) in the Old City. Livnot can be reached by car via Ha-ari St. This event is being organized primarily for residents of Tzfat in the Old City and Artists Quarter as well as volunteers at Livnot and elsewhere who have been working non-stop for several weeks now serving needy residents of the city. It is subsidized by the Center for Healthy Living. Contributions from those able to give are welcome. Other guests welcome if space is available. Due to limited space please let us know in advance if you will be attending. Contact Moshe Tov Kreps: 0547-338388,

And now....something completely different

[moderator] Some of us, more cynical than others, haven't been totally suprised by the following types of reports, but they bear repeating. This one was noted by HonestReporting.

"CNN senior international correspondent" Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon, was stage-managed from start to finish by Hizbullah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hizbullah's "press officer" and that Hizbullah have "very, very sophisticated and slick media operations."
When pressed a few days later about his reporting on the CNN program "Reliable Sources," Robertson acknowledged that Hizbullah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hizbullah "had control of the situation," Robertson said. "They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn't have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath."
Robertson added that Hizbullah has "very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas. You don't get in there without their permission. We didn't have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hizbullah fighter by night."
Yet "Reliable Sources," presented by Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broadcast only on the American version of CNN. So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN's "Senior international correspondent" that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hizbullah.
Another journalist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, Time magazine contributor Christopher Allbritton, casually mentioned in the middle of a posting: "To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I'm loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist's passport, and they've already hassled a number of us and threatened one."
Robertson is not the only foreign journalist to have misled viewers with selected footage from Beirut. NBC's Richard Engel, CBS's Elizabeth Palmer, and a host of European and other networks, were also taken around the damaged areas by Hizbullah minders. Palmer commented on her report that "Hizbullah is also determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see."
Palmer's honesty is helpful. But it doesn't prevent the damage being done by organizations such as the BBC. First the BBC gave the impression that Israel had flattened the greater part of Beirut. Then to follow up its lop-sided coverage, its website helpfully carried full details of the assembly points for an anti-Israel march due to take place in London, but did not give any details for a rally in support of Israel also held in London a short time later.

Update from the Zatloffs

[moderator] this is another catch-up from last week

Dear friends and family, Another update your Zfat correspondents. The past two days have seen heavy barrages of miles all over the north. Nasralah (may the evil one drop dead) remembered us in Zfat as well. On Wednesday within an hour period the sirens went off often. One remarkable and obvious miracle happened in my neighborhood. Miriam had left on a taxi to a market to do some shopping with Meni. Soon upon arriving, electricity went off, and she called me on my cell phone. I was sick with fever and laying in bed when the sirens went off. I was on my way to the shelter, when I heard a large explosion which shook the area. The lights went out. I remained in our livingroom, which is a protective inner room with no windows. I left the apartment a while after the sirens stopped. The missile landed between a water tower and a synagogue but miracles of miracles it exploded inside a large metal container which the synagogoue used for storing plastic chairs and tables for events. The container was in flames inside but well contained. No one injured, some damages to windows and slats from window shutters only. An electricity cable was knocked down, but fixed and power soon restored. Neighborschecked up on each other. I checked up on an older neighbor who lives alone. She's in her eighties. She's a widow, lives alone with her two dogs, her son in Zfat passed away a while ago and she has a daughter in Jerusalem. She won't budge from her home. She came from Romania after WWII and she is determined not to flee from Nasrallah like they had to from Hitler. The rest of the day was quiet. I had high fever most of yesterday so since Wednesday I haven't been out delivering meals, but I hope to be back at it soon. Akivah is home for Shabbat and is still based in Nablus (Shechem). Yaacov had a friend visit over Tishab'Av. His friend is from Rosh Pina ( a small town 15 minutes from here) so he was used to the sirens, and my daughter is in Jerusalem now for a while. Next week we have a wedding in Herzlia, my cousin Avi is getting married and we'll be going down by hired van and driver, returning the same day. This isn't an easy existence, and chaos and lack of certainty abound. Our belief and trust in G-d is always being tested, and we try to increase meaning in our prayers, psalms and deeds. We're living on bodies which are pumped heavy with adreneline, so I started trying to work out again and to increase meditation as much as possible in order to pump out more calming and relaxing chemicals into my system. Hope all is well with everyone. Please pass on my e-mails to friends and family members whose addresses I don't have. Shabbat Shalom to everyone. Mashiach Now, Immediate Redemption !!!

Tisha B'Av in Tzfat

[moderator] catching up on recent postings

b"hOur friend, Moshe Biton, who owns a little store through which Lev U'Neshama gets its produce and staples to be delivered, was faced with a big decision yesterday, Thursday, afternoon. Throughout the morning there were no siren warnings. Yesterday was Tisha B'Av, (the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av). The day is treated as a day of mourning by the Jewish People as we recall the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem and many other calamities that have befallen our People throughout our history on that day. The readings always read on this day took on much more impact than when read during times of relative peace. Fasting (25 hours) is generally required on this day but during a time when rockets could explode at any time, it was a challenging day to the stamina of many in Tzfat, and elsewhere in this area, certainly. Moshe Biton said it was the first Tisha B'Av that he opened his store on Tisha B'Av in the afternoon to enable people to shop for produce so people could prepare on Friday for Shabbat (Friday Night/Saturday). Business was slow and he decided to go home. On the way he made a delivery near our house and Tzava waited on the sidewalk for him. As they greeted each other, the siren went off. His instinct urged him to get back into his little truck and flee; his intellect told him to run with Tzava for the shelter across from our house. As soon as they entered the shelter, the rockets exploded nearby. He made a good decision. Tzava got her produce and Moshe went home. At least 10 rockets hit Tzfat yesterday afternoon. Shrapnel from exploding rockets is extremely dangerous. We've seen some that landed in our area. It can injure someone severely; its like little discs and chunks with sharp edges all around. Chana, who also lives upstairs in our building, showed me the room where her husband had been napping in bed when a rocket exploded across the street from our house a few days ago. A piece of shrapnel whizzed through an open window, slit the screen, continued across the foot of the bed where Yaacov was, (past tense), sleeping, bashed into a closet door, took out a chunk of the door, burrowed into the closet shredding some clothes and landed in a suitcase where it gouged out a hole. No wonder she broke into tears that afternoon. Several time during that afternoon, Thursday, Tzfat got its share of siren warnings and exploding rockets. Smoke was in the air and there were several "hits." One rocket swooshed by our house and exploded nearby. Roxy had been eating her dinner when the siren wailed. Smart dog! She stopped eating, ran for the safe room and got under a chair that was pushed under the table. When it was "all clear," she returned to finish her dinner. What a trouper! Felicia, who lives on the western part of the city, told me today, Friday, that three rockets slammed into the mountainside yesterday afternoon, shaking the entire building. She lives in an area of a series of tall buildings perched on the side of one of Tzfat's mountains. Fires broke out but the fire department, valiant, overworked firemen with three very old, but effective vehicles, responded almost immediately. The area was filled with black, acrid smoke. No injuries, thank G-d. Many rockets have been aimed in that part of the city in attempts to hit the hospital. This was an announcement by the Hizbollah; they want to hit Israel's hospitals, schools and nursing homes and Tzfat has a regional hospital. Today, Friday, a neighbor upstairs, Anshel, answered a plea for help from a nearby Moshav. A male goat had to be transferred to another Moshav for several female goats who were impatiently waiting. I don't know why the male goat needed transportation, but Anshel, with his usual good humor, picked up the goat and got him into the back seat of his car so he (the goat) could make his appointment with the "ladies in waiting." Life goes on. Moshe Biton delivered food to some families today on behalf of Lev U'Neshama, just in time for Shabbat. LUN always delivers directly to recipient's doors. The City of Tzfat has been delivering food but instead of delivering it to shelters, they leave it on the sidewalks in front of buildings. Fights have broken out and things have gotten very ugly in some neighborhoods. Biton delivered for four families in one building this afternoon and our distributor who lives in the building and received the boxes, had to be protected by her grown son from many people who tried to grab the boxes from her. She said it was a very frightening situation. She relayed that there are many frightened people, especially the aged and ill, who have no one to rely on because they have no family members living here or neighbors who previously helped, have left. Lev U'Neshama is trying to locate aged, infirm and housebound, so food boxes can be delivered to them. There have been six siren warnings (to the point of this multi-interrupted writing), this afternoon, Friday, and the sound of distant explosions but at least we got the Shabbat table set and all of the food is cooked. You cook ahead of time in case there is no electricity and it's difficult to prepare things when you have to stop for siren warnings.We look forward to a peaceful Shabbat. We pray for Hashem's protection, for us and for all of Israel.

Another account of Shabbat in Tzfat

[moderator] from the Smolenskys

Walking to shul this last Shabbat was eerie; we saw two people on the street. Moshe said it was a struggle to get ten men together for the minion. I was the only woman in the women's section. Sirens interrupted our Shabbat morning services but no one moved from their places. After services we walked home in the stillness, looking about for a "safe place" to which to run if the sirens sounded before we reached home.
Our usual Shabbat nap began at 2 PM; it was cut short at 3 PM by the wail of sirens followed by at least seven subsequent siren warnings and multiple rockets slamming into the city; Two whizzed by our neighborhood and others could be heard in the distance. This lasted for about 2 hours.
During the attacks we began to smell smoke. Some rockets hit Beriya, a small community adjacent to Tzfat up the mountain. The rockets exploded and started a forest fire which quickly spread because of the wind at that level. It was more than our city firemen could handle and soon we heard planes swooping by to drop fire retardant. The planes continued this for a few hours until the fire was contained. I don't know if any homes were consumed. The smell was terrible and we kept the windows closed until 10:30 PM. Even then the smell was bothersome. (White ash subsequently settled on everything in the area.)
Lev U'Neshama located 36 families to whom food boxes will be delivered this week with the help of two small stores that are struggling to stay open.
Most of Tzfat is closed. Banks are operating only on lower floors to minimize danger to workers and customers. Yosef Weiss is at his book store in the city and he has distributed dozens of free teddy bears provided by Lev U'Neshama supporters. A friend sent a pair of shoes with another friend who was going to Tel Aviv so his shoes could be repaired because our shoe repair shop is closed. Every day there are siren warnings and rockets; sometimes more and sometimes less so businesses are hesitant to open.
Repair of broken windows in Tzfat is impossible for lack of glass. We hope shipments come soon. Every window in the shul above us shattered with the rocket that hit between it and the water tower; this was a few days ago.
We don't play music in the house these days. If we hear explosions in the distance, we prepare ourselves for sirens and possible "incoming" in our area. There isn't much time between sirens and rocket hits. Both Tubby-cat and Roxy respond to sirens immediately. Wherever they are in the house, they both join us in the safe area in our house. At least we have an in-home entertainment center.
Moshe & Yaffa

[moderator] from Edyth, our 80-something librarian, tzdekka lady, community organizer, and General in charge of Tzfat's english-speaking community.

"This is being written from home, a place which I visit from time to time.
The library has become my real residence as I open it at 9 a.m. and stay down there till the next morning.
We sleep in the library storeroom which is equipped with a (very very hard) couch and enough room for my neighbor Shoshana to put down a mattress.

Surprisingly enough, people come to the library. There are bits and pieces of relative quiet between rockets and sirens so people come in to get a book, a magazine, a tape, a video - whatever. And they sometimes sit down and put a piece into my jigsaw puzzle and chat - a way to relieve some tension.

Many people have left - and those who are here manage to flee for a weekend or a 2-day break from the pressures. Some are returning as it is just too hard to be a guest, to buy food and other essentials away from home, etc. Those who stay here are often worried about family members who left and family pets are being looked after and gardens are being
looked after here and there, etc.

My neighbor Shoshana with 8 children - all married and most with large families - hardly gets off the phone in her concern for where the children can best find security...
One child with 4 little ones has returned to Safed and is staying with Shoshana since there is no shelter near their own home.

The lone Russian woman in our building was in a very bad situation till Shoshana shamed the social workers into coming to her aid - and till Shoshana made sure meals are brought to the woman. In the first days, such lone individuals were not cared for but as time went on, police, soldiers and city representatives actually have rung doorbells and made sure all are taken care of.

The funeral for Becky's husband came on the day of relative quiet so we managed even shiva calls... She and her sons who are here from the US and Australia do not go to a shelter but have a safe (?) corner in their apt.

That's the best version I can give you of what happens here. I send a "daily report" to about 50 people and I am posting you one of them - from July 24 - to see what I am feeling.

From Judy -- Tzfat volunteer

It was a terrible day yesterday w/all of the tragedy in kfar giladi and haifa and i don't know where else------ rockets, sirens....more soldiers in the hospital yesterday than i've seen before...I went out w/friend to survey who needs food of those who have no phone.
Brought toys to children in bomb shelter.
A friend of mine who is 83 said that she is scared. She survivied WW11 and that was no cure for her to feel relaxed about now. Another friend, 73, lives alone though surrounded by neighbors, needs to leave the area. Her nerves are shattered.
I'm at home after showering and grateful to have gotten through that because of concern that i'd be caught without my pants, so to speak if, a rocket decided to visit. A daily shower, early in the day becomes an ordeal because of the reason given.
We go through the day where time doesn't have the effect it used to; we walk in a semi-conscious state in order to get through the day. May Mashiach reveal himself now.
sounds of rockets as i write.
from israel, with love,

Saturday, August 05, 2006


[moderator] Doreen Bell Dotan lives in the Ofer neighborhood of Tzfat, in the south. She and her husband have chosen to stay in Tzfat during the war. This message was posted on the Tzfat yahoogroup.

I have a neighbor who lives next door to me in our 3-buildingbuilding complex.Whenever a bomb falls too close for comfort she calls me.Well, a bomb dropped on Shabbat afternoon right in front of herbuilding. It's the building in the Ofer neighborhood closest to thehospital. Another rocket in the same barrage fell behind my building.It's now awhile after Motze'i Shabbat. Dan and I just got back fromgoing to see where it fell. It landed smack dab in the middle of theroad that leads off the main highway towad the end of the buildingin the direction of the hospital. If it had been a weekday...They removed the shell and plugged the huge hole it left, apparentlytemporarily with what looks like plain dirt, until proper materialsare available. It happened, after all, on Shabbat and almost no oneis working.The rocket melted the asphalt upon impact and splatterings of moltenasphalt are on the road and elsewhere.It broke the edges of the concrete sidewalks on both sides of thestreet.A car that was parked on the side of the road was ignitedsympathetically and exploded. It's totally gutted.Windows shattered in my friends' building, I am told.A utility pole not more than 15 feet away was, miraculously, leftuntouched and intact.We did not see ball bearings strewn around. Perhaps this particularrocket was not loaded with them. Many rockets are packed with ballbearings.Compared to what could have happened we got away very lucky - yetagain.It was awful, but miracles abound. Anyone experiences this and doesnot believe in miracles is wholly unrealistic and in total denial.Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Ofer Neighborhood, Tzfat

The Volunteer Program -- J Post article

[moderator] Gabi Nachman is director of community service volunteers for Livnot U'Lehibanot in Jerusalem. He spent last week in Tzfat with his children, helping the Livnot volunteer program in Tzfat. He is heading back to Tzfat this week.

This is a first-hand report from a Jerusalem-based director of the volunteer group Livnot U'Lehibanot, who has been helping with the group's volunteer effort in Safed and has a son of his own fighting in Lebanon.
"Twenty more food packages," yells David, the foreman for Livnot U'Lehibanot volunteers, to the people sitting in the dining hall. Within 10 minutes the packages are ready.
Asher, a volunteer from Rehovot who came with his car, takes a crew of volunteers to the homes of a new list of Safed residents received from the city emergency services headquarters. The count of families helped today is up to 130.
Our day had started with a visit to the Safed Home Front Command army officers, who allocated another 11 bomb shelters to Livnot. (This is after Livnot made 18 bomb shelters habitable last week). Later, the city engineer asked us to clear out the rubble from the girls' school which taken a direct hit and whose top floor might need to be taken apart altogether.
Twelve crews of volunteers visited close to 130 people, including 100 elderly. The elderly, whose caretakers left them alone, have no one from the municipality to care for them. Upon returning for lunch, the volunteers reported that they had bathed people, cleaned their homes, taken them to the doctor, picked up their medicine, joined them for a dialysis treatment and did their shopping.
One lady had spent the morning attempting to open her bottle of eye-drops. Another needed to talk about her fears when the siren went off, and the feeling of helplessness she had when hearing the rocket explosions.
After dinner, we called the officer in charge of the wounded soldiers in the hospital, and proceeded to make care-packages for the soldiers. Thirteen volunteers went to the hospital. "Don't put socks in the packages," instructed the officer, "because one of the soldiers lost a leg, and the matter might be sensitive."
Tamir, a Nahal solder who hails from Beersheba, gave our volunteers a first-hand report from the front. "They fired a missile into the door," he reported, "and then four Hizbullah fighters tried to get into the house we occupied to kill someone and kidnap a body or a live soldier. It was the quality of our men and their determination to win the battle that made the difference. I finished all nine magazines and all my hand grenades on them, while I was already wounded. We killed all of them, and as soon as I'm better, I would like to go back to my chevre" - his IDF colleagues.
Tamir told us,"Kol Hakavod to you all for coming to visit us at this time." For us, it was a true lesson in humbleness. Here is a boy who put his life on the line, thanking us for coming to visit.
As I've been writing over the past hour, the siren has sounded six times and we've heard at least 30 Katyushas falling in the Safed area. But in general life goes on. We take shelter behind a thick wall or in the downstairs room, and as soon as it is over we get on with our missions... until the next siren.
Yesterday, when we heard that my own son, Matan, was coming out of Lebanon for a few days, regrouping and stocking up, we bought a mountain of pizzas, a whole bunch of snacks, fruit and cold drinks and made our way to the border community of Shtula to meet his unit. The soldiers seemed well-rested and fed, and were cracking jokes about Hizbullah.
When the loudspeakers called for everyone to take shelter, the soldiers did not even bother to leave the shaded area, and the only reminder that we are at war was the big boom that sounded outside my car on the way in. It was so loud that my left hand, resting on the car door, was sent flying from the reverberations.

"My soldiers are the best in the entire army," the baby-faced Captain Itamar, commander of my son's paratroop unit, said to me. "Although we lost one of our officers a few days ago, our spirits are very high and we are ready to go in and do the job."
"I trust you," I told him as I gave him a big hug, "that you will do all you can to look after my son and the other soldiers."
I also told him I was bringing him blessings from the entire people of Israel, including our brothers and sisters overseas, adding: "Those snacks and pizzas are sponsored by them."
I told the soldiers about the phone calls I have been getting every day from our friends from America. These friends are planning to come in the next few weeks, and help Livnot with our war effort.
As we were leaving we saw some of the soldiers covering their faces with camouflage paint, readying for the next mission.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Absorption Center Bar Mitzva

[moderator] The children featured in this article are presently in the south of the country...many were in the Tzfat Absorption Center when it was hit by katyushas a few weeks ago.

The Zatloffs -- resident family and volunteers

[moderator] The Zatloffs have been living in Tzfat for 25 years. They have 6 children, and have decided to stay in Tzfat. They are assisting in the Livnot U'Lehibanot relief program. Here are 2 of their most recent posts.

July 30
Well folks, it's UPDATE TIME again. Please forward this and the other updates to other family members or friends whose e-mail addresses I don't have.

I ended my last update by saying I would write about some humorous situations I found myself in while driving around delivering meals. First, the group organizing the meals and care for senior citizens is a program callled Livnot u'lihibanot. (To build and to be built) They offer programs for English speakers based on volunteer work, Jewish studies and strengthening ties and a love for the land of Israel. Many social projects and public renovation projects in Zfat are sponsored by Livnot.

Looking for some of these addresses can be very frustrating and like I said quite humorous. I have to say that it's incredible how people can learn to survive and deal with difficult situations by using humor. Most of you are looking at this situation from the outside looking in and are probably wondering what's so funny about a war or missles flying overhead !!! Humor, however, can break and help relieve tension, and can allow someone to go on with more confidence and optimism.

For example, we were driving around for well over half an hour looking for Remez David St. 121.
Now you have to understand, this street is not one continuous street; it breaks in the middle and picks up again several streets and neighborhoods away. We finally found 121, but the street name was Etzel. We kept looking until sirens went off. We stopped the van and went into a shelter. One of the women in the shelter lives in the building we wanted. She told us that the pink building we saw was the correct one, and the city had just finished renovating it but forgot to change the street name. We went back to the building, started to look for apartment number 3, but soon enough got confused again. I phoned, and in a combination of Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew I found their apartment. You see, mailbox number 7 was really number 3; I guess the city forgot to change the numbers like they forgot to change the street name. Many buildings and homes are not along the street, but might be behind other buildings and can't be seen from the street. You can ride around looking for building 95, see 90, 91, 92, 93, and 94 and then 98. Hey, whatever happened to 95 ??? It's down some stairs, off the road, behind some buildings and down the hill.

The best one was looking for Ekaterina, an elderly woman who spoke Russian and Yiddish. We finally found her building, but had difficulty locating her apartment, which was number 4. I found number 4, but it wasn't hers. I phoned her, and she came outside. It turned out that apartment number 4 wasn't number 4 but instead number 8, and apartment number 8 was really apartment 4. Every apartment number in this building had the wrong number on the mailboxes and doors.
I drove down one street looking for building 31. On the right hand side was building 311, and guess where building 31 was ??? Right one block down on the left. Jokes and wisecracks were flying in my van, and we all felt so bad for the postal workers who might need to deliver mail.

However, there are streets with logical numbers, but some streets may be circular in shape, whereas others may be straight and then turn to the right and continue straight until it curves again. However, if you turn left, you are on a different street. One street changes it's name in the middle. I've discovered so many streets, alleys, shortcuts and hidden places I could probably become a taxi driver. Well, it surely keeps me wide awake while driving around town. Miracles happen everyday because everyone gets meals and I can logically explain the illogical system to other volunteer drivers. When we deliver meals we also survey the home situation to see if someone needs help from the social services. People are appreciative, and just a hello and a few words give them support, courage and comfort. They know they are not alone.

Today, all my kids, except for Akivah, came around and helped out. That's it for today, folks. I'll be back again, reporting the latest from the Zfat front. Believe me, missles are a serious business, but Zfat isn't Northern Ireland with its daily dangers, and I certainly walk the streets of Zfat with more confidence than I would certain sections of New York City. We are not a war torn country, thank G-d. Hizballah controlled Lebanon is, and G-d willing that evil force will be obliterated along with its supporters. We are a nation under siege, and need to continue to unify and show acts of Hesed, kindness and generosity to each other. We want Mashiach, redemption NOW !!!

Until the next update,
Miriam, Shneor and family"

August 1st 2006
ZIP from Zfat
(Zatloff Information Providers)

Hello folks,
Zipping off another short, brief and not too long message. All was very quiet yesterday. I knew something was going on because yesterday morning there was no "Nasrallah Wake Up Call", and everyone in the synagogue was quite unsure what was happening. As soon I got home, I read the Hebrew and English news sites and understood the reason behind the erie quiet atmosphere.

My daughter and I went delivering meals yesterday. I usually drive a van and I know my route well, so I can just put the vehicle on automatic pilot and zoom off. The organization I wrote about in my last update,, Livnot U'Lihibanot, is working very hard to provide essential services to seniors here. People come from all over the country to volunteer, sometimes even just for a day or so, but they feel they have to be here. Some are cleaning and maintaining homes of seniors or fixing up shelters. Yesterday, for example, two young women spent the morning hours helping Azziza, a very special strong-willed woman who must be well into her 90's if not older. Her son, who lives in Zfat, is in his 70's, and suffered a second stroke months ago. He's in a rehabilitation center in the center of the country. Someone was coming twice a week to help her in the house but the woman left as soon as rockets hit Zfat. The two women yesterday cleaned and organized Azziza's house, while receiving blessings upon blessings from this remarkable gentle and sweet woman. She complained about her shoulders, so the girls massaged her shoulders and back. This is only one example of what Livnot is providing others here in Zfat, and Livnot is one of many groups which provides services and care for families, seniors and shelters. Chabad also has a strong presence here in Zfat, and groups from outside are also involved. For example, someone came to Zfat and gave certain food stores an extremely large sum of money and on a certain day people could go shop at these stores and according to their family size receive part of their purchases free of charge.

Today also began as another day of quiet, and may G-d grant us all many days of peace and quiet with immediate redemption. I'm aware of world reaction to the bombing of the building in Quana, but Israeli Airforce Videos show rockets being fired from there, and launchers are hidden in homes and buildings. It was a tragic loss of life, but the Hizballah doesn't care about life, neither Jewish nor non-Jewish, especially if death can serve their own evil ideological game plan. The Israeli press is reporting that the IDF is investigating a time lapse which seems to have occured between the bombing of the building and the eventual collapse. Was it IDF alone which fired on the building, or did Hizbalah destroy it themselves in order to create support for its attacks against Israel? Why did they allow woman and children to remain in a war zone from which they were launching rockets into Israel? Human shields is not a new tactic, it's used in Gaza as well by the PLO and Hamas.

Continue to pray for us in Israel and for those all over the world. Our people are under attack, in Israel, Seatle, etc... My son Akiva has been stationed in Nablus (Shechem) for over half a year and may be moving with his unit up North. Please keep him and other soldiers in your daily prayers. His Hebrew name is Akivah Aharon ben Miriam Yeta.

Wishing you all a good and peaceful day. With warm regards and blessings from us in Zfat.
Stay tuned for the next broadcast provided by ZIP

Signing off for now,

From the Smolenskys

[moderator] Yaffa and Moshe Smolensky are active in Tzfat, putting out a semi-weekly
e-newsletter which updates Tzfat residents on what's happening in Tzfat (during normal times it's semi-weekly; during these weeks, it's daily!) and managing the Lev Neshama tzdekka fund.

They have been sending out updates for the past few weeks, but I will send out excerpts, beginning with their latest (and post as they send out further updates).

July 31, 2006
"Time has lost some of its perspective in Tzfat because of the lack of a normal routine. Before this last Shabbat there were multiple daily siren warnings and "incoming," as we refer to the rockets that hit the city. Some days I have to remember what day of the week it actually is. Shabbat was not peaceful in Tzfat. Walking to shul was eerie because the only thing we heard was an occasional bird song and we saw only four people on the street. Most shuls in our neighborhood are closed for lack of minyan. Perhaps three are functioning. During morning service I could hear the faint background sounds of rockets hitting thus giving extra meaning to the prayers that are often glossed over in times of peace. In the huge shul that we attend, the men had to "scrape together" a minyan.
Shabbos afternoon there were multiple siren warnings and in the evening we endured a full-scale attack with rockets hitting in the neighborhood above ours. Tzfat is located on several mountains clustered together so everything is either up or down. After the attack neighbors congregated in the passageway between the buildings in which we live to compare notes. A son of a neighbor celebrated his 17th birthday. Of his two older brothers, one recently was let out of the army but on reserve and the other was still in the army. After celebrating with a meager birthday cake, the joy of the birthday was shattered when they learned that their son who is serving in the South, was being shipped north with his artillery unit....Also, on Sunday we took advantage of what we hoped was a lull in activity and did our grocery shopping. The money changer in the city opened his office just before we got to his door so I was able to exchange donations from US and Canadian checks into shekels. On Sunday morning, 16 families got food delivered to their doors; staples and dairy products, compliments of Lev U'Neshama and those who have donated to enable us to do so. A few stores in the city have opened and there were a fair number of people walking and some cars traversing the "main street" called the Midrachov. People greeted friends who they haven't seen in a long time. The bank was open. The main veggie store in town was almost devoid of produce and what was left on the shelf was barely edible. Today, Monday, there is a postponement of air strikes on the part of Israel to allow civilians to leave the southern part of Lebanon, if they choose to do so. This is also the day we ventured north to Kibbutz Gonen where I go for chiropractic treatments. It is just south of Kiryat Shemona from where we could see smoke rising from that area as well as hearing the sounds of explosions. Along the highway we could see areas of our beautiful country scarred by burned sections of the forests from where rockets had hit and exploded, causing fires.
After my treatment I greeted a lady in the waiting area. I told her we were from Tzfat. She said she was from Rosh Pina. There was a big handshake and obvious pride that we were still in our homes. We wished each other to be well and safe.
Perhaps this afternoon the air strikes will begin again according to announcements on our neighbor's TV. We are anticipating whatever may come our way; we have our bottles of water, our lantern and flashlight, candles, a supply of food (human and pet) and courage that we seem to muster from deep within ourselves when rockets slam into our city and we know from the sound of the explosions, in surrounding areas.
Moshe & Yaffa, still in Tzfat

Matan Nachmani

Matan Nachmani, Gabi and Tova Leah's eldest, is now a paratrooper in the IDF.,,19959437-5006506,00.html

Volunteer -- Lindsay

[moderator] Lindsay L., a recent participant in the ROI120 conference, describes her experiences as a volunteer in Tzfat to the other conference participants on their group blog.

Rabbi Weiss's recent Shabbat in Tzfat

With thanks to blogger daledamos!

[moderator] Pesach Stadlin is an alumni and sometimes-staff member of the Livnot program. He has been volunteering with Livnot in Tzfat for the past few days.

His thoughts and experiences:

Livnot U'Lehibanot -- David Botzer

[moderator] The Livnot U'Lehibanot organization has been active for 26 years in running Israel Experience Programs for young Jewish adults while imbuing participants with the love of Israel, Judaism, and importance of connections with the Jewish community.

To this end, the Livnot community service programs in Tzfat and Jerusalem have worked, both with program participants and volunteers to serve local residents through volunteer projects.

With the onset of the present "Katyusha War", Livnot in Tzfat became a local center of volunteer activity, working with the army, Pikud HaOref (Homefront Command) and the city's Social Work department to meet the needs of local residents who are in need of assistance, particularly the elderly. David Botzer is coordinating the current relief campaign.

"Close to 40 volunteers are now working with Livnot to deliver food and other necessities to over 80 elderly and handicapped people in Tzfat who are unable to fend for themselves.

Livnot receives daily lists from the municipality Social Work department, and then insures that the needs of those people are met for that day.

Livnot has molded it's volunteer campaign to include meeting as wide a variety of needs of these individuals as possible. When food is delivered, the residents are asked "what do you need" and at that point, the volunteer is able to assess whether the individual needs medicines, to see a medical or social work professional, assistance in their home, help with personal hygiene, etc. Volunteers give baths, take residents to doctor appointments, bring social workers to see the people, etc.

This morning, one elderly lady told "her" volunteer that she didn't really need anything, but....could he please open her eye-dropper bottle for her? Turns out that this woman, who lives alone, had been waiting for several hours for someone to arrive who could simply open up her medication for her.

At the close of each day, Livnot volunteers prepare a report for the Social Work department detailing the people who were visited, what their needs are, and what follow-up, if any, is needed.

The Livnot volunteers themselves are a special breed -- young and old, married and single, Israelis and people who have arrived from outside Israel to contribute during this period of crisis...they are, every one of them, amazing, and a tribute to the unity of the Jewish people."